Leadership Experiences of a Refugee

Leadership Experiences of a Refugee

“You can do anything you want provided that you learn what you need to learn.”

Quang Nguyen


The definition of a leader can be quickly summed up as one who makes sacrifices, creates opportunities and takes responsibility for their actions. Someone who is working towards a purpose with the bigger picture in mind.


What if the leader’s purpose is fulfilling a dream for a better future, which first involves fleeing a poor fishing village, in a war-torn country? It means risking your life and the life of the woman you love by boarding a boat, in the middle of the night, while being chased at gunpoint?


That is goosebump material right there, especially when this true story goes on to tell of the couple surviving three to four years, in a refugee camp in Hong Kong, while seeking asylum. They do this knowing they have gone against the grain of their home village, country culture and, in doing so, have left behind extreme family tension.


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A son was born to this brave couple while they were living in the refugee camp, he is happy to be known as ‘Q’ and today’s insightful message of leadership experiences of a refugee is thanks to his reflective and open storytelling. Q puts the success he has enjoyed throughout his life down to the result of the butterfly effect; a series of key moments that his parents and grandparents experienced and were fortunate enough to survive.


Quang Nguyen, aka ‘Q’, is a first-generation refugee who was born in Hong Kong and moved to the ‘pinnacle’ country of Australia in March 1984. He was just 10 months old. Q has lived his life doing his best to combine the opportunities and social norms that come with living in a Western Society, while maintaining and preserving the Vietnamese culture that has been passed onto him by his parents.


Being the eldest of five children and being born into a family with a strong hierarchical and patriarchal culture, shaped Q’s leadership experience right from an early age. Leadership was enforced on him, as he was the first-born son and he soon learnt the key fundamentals of delegation and communication while looking after his siblings. He recalls feeling like his childhood was spent living two lives; fulfilling his obligation at home and then being free to express himself at school where he was known as the Smart Asian Maths Kid.


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After leaving school, Q studied computer science however, it was after an epiphany moment, when he realised the massive influence school had on him, that he began working in the education sector. After two years as a teacher Q was promoted to Assistant Principal, due to his use of innovative practices and the respect he earned in the classroom.


It was Q’s love of psychology and human behaviour that eventually led him to establish QN Coaching & Training where he helps business owners succeed and, you will not be surprised to hear that he isn’t doing what everyone else is doing when it comes to Business Development and Coaching. Q is passionate about helping business owners utilise their ‘vehicle’ to live a life they envisioned and, if they do not meet the financial outcome he originally sets, he does not get paid his full fee.


Join us in today’s The Culture of Leadership Podcast episode where you can enjoy the full extent of Q’s experience growing up in an ethnic minority family, who overcame racism and poverty, on their journey for a safe and healthy life. Learn how Q draws on the strength shown by his parents when making decisions for his own family. Their relentless patience and resilience, shown as they lived through unimaginable conditions for that better ‘big picture’ opportunity, has definitely paid off in the long run.


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